Posts Tagged ‘music’


I Sell My Kids For Rock’N’Roll

September 24, 2014

Crucified Barbara have a new album out – In The Red, available on iTunes and everywhere else where you can buy music. iTunes has them listed as Hard Rock and they’re not kidding. There’s not really a single weak track on any of their 4 albums and that wonderful example above is track one from the new album.

I’m already hooked – Mia can do no wrong as far as I’m concerned – so it’s kind of pointless reviewing the band’s new album because I’d just be saying, “It’s great, buy it, etc.” and I know that most of the (3) people who visit this site don’t like stuff like Motorhead so they’re probably not going to take my word on this. Ok, fine, don’t. Just play that video and make up your own mind.



DM1 – The Drum Machine review (iPad)

June 28, 2012

10 word description: Advanced vintage drum machine. 64 drum kits. Pads, Mixer, Effects.

Each song is a sequence of patterns

10 word review: Gorgeous visuals, incredibly easy to use, feature-packed and fun.

Each pattern is a sequence of steps

You will like this if you enjoy: Creating music on your iPad. Drum machines in general.

You can play along or record in real time using the pads

The good news: Very easy to use. I only had to look one thing up in the excellent pdf manual and that was more because of my lack of observation skills than any problem with the DM1. It looks great (see pics). There are over 60 drum kits and many include more sounds/samples than just standard drum kit components, so you can create melodies or even imitation 8-bit theme tunes! Everything is very fast – song loading, drum kit swapping, pattern editing functionality. The mixer and effects add a huge amount of sound customisation possibilities. Loads of different demo songs to play around with and learn from.

There are a lot of different kits to choose from

The bad news: It’s not “a real drummer”. (Hmmm, actually that’s probably good news!). I mean that there is a limit to the sound customisation. For example, you can’t adjust the velocity/volume of individual notes/steps beyond ‘normal’ and ‘louder’; but, hey, it’s a drum machine – what were you expecting? The ability to import your own samples and build your own drum kits would, of course, be an excellent addition.

The volume/panning, etc. for each instrument can be adjusted in the mixer

Arcadelife verdict: I’ve always enjoyed playing around with drum machines and this one is a lot of fun. It makes very good use of the iPad screen and touch interface and is one of the most immediately accessible and easy to use music apps I have seen. Unless you go in expecting way too much, it will be a long time before you start thinking of things that would be nice to have in DM1, as it already pretty much has everything most people would expect or want from a drum machine app. The visuals don’t even have to be this good, but they are and they make using the DM1 an even more satisfying and enjoyable experience.

Two effects can be applied via this very easy-to-use pair of trackpads

Overall – highly recommended. It’s a great drum machine, a fun iPad app, and the developers are open about asking for user comments and suggestions for future updates.

Arcadelife rating
Note: I was going to alter the categories slightly for this app, but then I realised that I didn’t need to.

Visuals – 9/10
Audio – 9/10
Controls – 10/10
Content – 9/10
Fun – 9/10
Final rating – 92/100

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 2.1
iTunes link

Fingerlab / DM1 website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
iPad (iOS 5.1.1)


Songineer review (iPod/iPhone)

November 7, 2011

“Won’t you help me, doctor beat
Doc doc doc doc doctor beat”

10 word description: Instant composer – create electronic music. 20 instruments, 5 drum kits.

10 word review: Very easy to create great sounding tracks. A lot of fun.

You will like this if you enjoy: Having a very easy to use composer app on your iOS device. Playing around with drum patterns, bass-lines, etc.

The good news: Very easy to use. Some nice example pieces that can be edited. Magically makes whatever you compose sound pretty damn good. Excellent interface. A lot more options and potential for fiddling around than you might expect. Variety of nice sounding electronic instruments. Ability to save and export in several common formats.

If you want to compose (or just play along) in real-time, there's a 4-3-2-1 count in...

The bad news: Eventually you will think of something that you want to do and will hit a wall, beyond which your creative genius is restricted by the number of tracks per instrument that you can create. However, there’s a heck of a lot of scope for creating all sorts of groovy, banging tunes before that happens.

Here's a lead line

Arcadelife verdict: This is a really great composer app, very simple to use and with a good default library of sounds. The drum/beat composer is a load of fun on its own, before you even begin adding bass, lead, atmospheric sounds and keyboards. I like Songineer quite a lot more than I thought I would, primarily because of the ease of use and the way it makes any creation sound special, even if you just randomly tap a load of notes to see what will happen. I can also see it having potential  if you want a very inexpensive drum machine and you have something to amplify your iPhone’s output. Overall, it’s fun and has plenty of cool features.

Beat patterns can be as simple or complex as you like

Arcadelife rating: 89/100

Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0
iTunes link

Amidio / Songineer website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (OS 5.0)


Animoog review (iPad)

October 20, 2011

“The music that we make will heal all our mistakes and lead us”

10 word description: Moog’s professional polyphonic synthesiser, designed for the iPad. Multiple modules.

Come on, how difficult would it have been for them to get Jeff Minter to program a version of Tempest into this?

10 word review: I know it’s not a game. It’s a really fun toy.

I don't know what half these settings do. That's kind of the whole point...

You will like this if you enjoy: Synthesizers – on your iPad (For 99c/69p). Playing trippy electronic music. Fiddling around with apps that you don’t understand but that you know, deep down, are definitely awesome.

A whole ton of presets. Go wild, go crazy wild with those presets

The good news: It’s really cool, man. It does a lot more stuff than I’ll probably ever figure out, but it’s immediately playable as soon as it’s installed; you don’t have to muck about with a million settings just to be able to play some tunes. The interface is easy enough to figure out. Graphically it’s rather awesome. Synths are all about fiddling around and seeing (hearing) what happens, so a thousand page manual isn’t necessary.

This is from the Moog site. I don't know how they got it to do that tunnel effect, but I'm not going to stop until I figure it out

The bad news: There’s no game anywhere in there. Also, I would have liked to have had a simple drum machine included, even a metronome. If there is one, I couldn’t figure out where it is, but I don’t think there is one.

The ability to select only the notes/keys that you need makes playing specific tunes a lot easier - if you're a complete musical noob. These are my "Escape from New York" keys

Arcadelife verdict: Yeah, ok, I know it’s not a game. But it’s fun and it’s the same price (currently) as the cheapest non-free games on the app store. I blew 69p on it in a spontaneous  impulse-buy, prompted by the nice screenshots. I can play the easy bits from the theme to Escape from New York and it sounds great on the Animoog, despite the fact that my musical ability peaked around 2002 while playing bass in a punk band, so I’m hardly qualified to talk about music. It’s amusing to read reviews of the Animoog on proper music sites, where they bang on for the first 10 paragraphs about historical and factual inaccuracies in the Animoog’s app store description. See, I thought music was about having fun, but really it’s about being a po-faced pedant who would bore an accountant to death. Get the app, get wasted and make some weird noises.

Arcadelife rating: 95/100

Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0.0

iTunes link

Moog / Animoog website link

Arcadelife played (badly) and reviewed this synthesizer app on:
iPad (OS 5.0)

GrooveMaker Rock Ace review (iPad)

March 14, 2011

“It takes blood and guts to be this cool, but I’m still just a cliché”

10 word description: Create tracks from 315 professionally sampled loops. Groovemaker rock version.
10 word review: Get down & rock out with no musical ability! Headbanger heaven.

It looks like a pocket calculator. It doesn't sound like one.

You will like this if you enjoy: Rock music, Guitar apps, mixing the sounds of real musicians.

He's Ace. See what they did there?

The good news: Clear, clean, intuitive interface; very easy to mix instantly gratifying rock tracks.

Sadly, there's no option to turn this up to 11. I'd call that a missed opportunity.

The bad news: Ultimately, it’s just you mixing someone else’s music. A premium priced rock-mixing iPad app endorsed by the guitarist from Skunk Anansie doesn’t exactly have “mass market appeal” written all over it.

Ok, it's not my fault this one isn't fantastic for screenshots

Arcadelife verdict: If you’re into rock music (or any of the many sub-genres of rock music) and you fancy mixing and looping some professionally played and recorded samples via a polished, intuitive interface, you’re going to have a lot of fun with this. If you happen to be a fan of Skunk Anansie there’s even more reason to get excited because the app is fully endorsed by, and more interestingly the samples are created by, their guitarist, Ace. No musical ability is required, as all you are doing is mixing and looping existing samples. A bit of magic at a technical level means that you’re never going to create anything out of key or completely awful, even though it can be fun trying to do that!

To summarise; this is an easy to use, polished, loop-mixing app that will let you arrange existing samples the way that you want. You’re never going to sound out of tune but you’re also never going to create anything unique – much like 99% of acts in the charts these days, I suppose.

The version of GrooveMaker Rock Ace for iPad  that Arcadelife reviewed is 1.0.2.  

GrooveMaker website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
iPad (OS 4.3)